29 are dead at the Upper Big Branch Mine. Massey Coal's stock price is down a few points. People are talking about "mine safety."
One very important safety measure was missing at Massey's Upper Big Branch — unionization. If there are safety problems, you can't count on rank-and-file miners — just trying to get by in a rough economy — to do anything at all to bring it to the attention of the alleged regulators. Who wants to get fired — right?
The UMW is not the union it used to be, but it's still a hell of a lot better than nothing. I don't know if the UMW could have prevented the carnage at Upper Big Branch, but I think the miners there would have had a hell of a lot better chance if somebody — anybody — was paying real attention to safety factors.
Labor continues to cling to Obama. Maybe it's genuine hope, maybe it's desperation. One way or the other, labor should not be taken for granted.
Without labor, the Democrats are dead.